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How to Improve Your Small Business Website

Websites are powerful marketing tools. Some are magnificent, drawing you in  and making you look deeper. Then there are those that fall far short because they are sloppy, hard to decipher, and lack inspiration.  Your website is often the first impression you make to your customers or clients. The website needs to be about your customer or client – not about you. It should help them find a solution to their problem.

The good news is that there are simple and immediate solutions that you can implement to keep prospects on your site longer and convert them to customers.

Five Simple and Immediate Solutions to Improve Your Small Business Website

Create a clear purpose

When a visitor comes to your website, your purpose needs to be clear and obvious. Do you want a prospect to enter her name and email into a website opt-in form? Are you trying to sell a product or service? Are you interested in educating the prospect over time? Your website should be designed to efficiently guide visitors directly to the information that they are seeking. It must have a clear and direct purpose.

In the overcrowded world of the Internet, you only have three seconds to capture a visitor’s attention. If your visitors are confused (even slightly), they are going to leave your website in order to find a more obvious solution.

Highlight your benefits

A prospect visits your site in order to solve a problem. It is your job to convince them that your product or service will accomplish this. You can succeed by highlighting the benefits that your prospect will receive if they purchase your product or service.

Will your product make your prospect happier? Will it save them time? Will they be healthier or wealthier? Your prospect must understand they will receive an obvious and important benefit if they purchase from you or select your service.

Keep it simple

Keep your web copy concise and to the point. You should use short paragraphs, bulleted lists and bolded and underlined text to highlight items of importance.

Time is precious. More than ever before, your visitors are looking for a solution to their problems in a quick and timely manner. They don’t have hours to browse through your website looking for the answer.

Give your visitors reasons to trust you

As soon as a visitor comes to your site, it’s paramount that they feel that they can connect with and trust you. There are a number of ways to increase the trust factor. Make sure your contact information is prominent and easy to find. Your website should be free from grammatical and spelling errors. Your site should have the look and feel of a well-established and successful company. Research suggests that trust must be established for prospects to either give you their information or make a purchase.

Offer something irresistible

No matter how spectacular your website may be, we know that visitors rarely make a purchase on their first visit. In fact, it can take up to twenty-seven exposures to your brand before they’re ready to buy.

That’s why it’s essential that you capture your visitor’s name and email address so that you can continue to communicate with them. However, you can’t just throw up a form on your website expecting your visitors to hand over their personal information.

You need to offer your visitors something irresistible in exchange for their name and email address. Ideally, it should be something they would gladly pay money to obtain. It might be an entertaining special report, educational ebook or engaging quiz. (Let’s face it, a long-winded whitepaper or subscription to your newsletter isn’t too irresistible.)

By giving away something irresistible to your first-time visitors, you’re able to market to them over time.

There are numerous ways to improve your small business website and keep prospects engaged in your website and convert them to happy clients and customers. If you revamp your website with a clear and specific purpose, keep things simple, create a sense of trust and offer something irresistible, you’ll soon find yourself with an abundance of new sales, clients and happy customers.

Search Engine Optimization Tips

Even though Google is constantly adapting its algorithm to deliver what it deems the truest answer to a particular query, there are basic search engine optimization guidelines that all sites – large and small – must follow to improve in search engine ranking. These are:

Code – Keep it simple

  • Follow standards and get as close to validated markup as possible
  • Make it easy for search engines to crawl your site
  • Make CSS class and ID names obvious, especially for section div tags
    • Name your header dive header
    • Name the CSS ID of your right sidebar div right-sidebar

Web Design – Less Navigation is More

  • Websites should have clean vertical internal linking
    • Every page links to the home page.
    • Every page links to every category level page. This is your main navigation.
    • Sub-category pages link to other sub-categories within the same category only.
    • Sub-category pages link to their own topic pages only.
    • Topic pages link to sub-category pages within the same category only.
    • Topic pages link to their own article pages only.
    • Article pages link to each sub-category page within the same category only.
    • Article pages link to each topic page within its own sub-category.
    • Article pages link to other article pages within the same topic.

Content – Engagement & Agility

  • Emphasize community and conversation
  • Create content that people will want to link to and talk about
  • Embrace agility – update content frequently
  • Update your old content – particularly advertorial content